United hit five on the road for the second time this season as Paul Mullin, Luke Hannant & Joe Ironside get on the scoresheet, with a fair bit of help from Scunthorpe’s hapless keeper.
2020 has been strange hasn’t it? We started off this year under Colin Calderwood, sitting just outside the relegation zone and Coronavirus was just something to keep an eye on in the Far East.
Fast forward to October, and under new manager Mark Bonner, United sit proudly at the top of League Two, playing an exciting gung-ho form of football, scoring goals for fun. Coronavirus on the other hand has put paid to any thoughts we’d have of actually watching this football with our own eyes, but such is life.
Having knocked Newport from the top of the table with a resounding 2-0 win at the Abbey last weekend the U’s made the trip up North to a Scunthorpe team fresh off the back of a 4-1 home defeat to Salford. “Things can’t get any worse” they thought. And for thirty-five minutes they were right.
Enter Paul Mullin. After half an hour of U’s dominance, and a Joe Ironside effort ruled out for offside Luke Hannant floated a free kick into the box, where Paul Digby was bought down for a penalty. Up stepped Mullin, and he hit is penalty hard and straight down the middle to give the United a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later Mullin had another chance to score from the spot after being on the receiving end of a foul himself. Would he hit it high, top bins, or low beyond the keepers reach this time? Nah mate, straight down the middle again, a carbon copy of the first.
United came out after the break much as they went in, and five minutes after the restart Luke Hannant got a shot away from a tight angle to make it 3-0 (even if it took a bit of deflection on the way). This rattled Scunthorpe, Hannant in particular coming in for some strong attention and it was no surprise when Hippolyte saw red for two fouls on the U’s wide man.
Fed up with the United boys making all the headlines Scunthorpe’s keeper thought he would get in on the action, letting in a low Joe Ironside shot to give the U’s a 4-0 lead. At this point Bonner thought he’d go easy on Scunny, bringing on the defensive trio of Hiram Boateng, Idris El Mizouni and Harvey Knibbs… ah. All three made an immediate impact, but none more so that Boateng, spraying passes all over the pitch and generally controlling the game from a defensive midfield position. Knibbs hit the bar, and Idris was busy causing havoc out wide. With eight minutes remaining Boateng again was involved, keeping possession in the centre of the park before allowing Darling to pass to Iredale to put a cross onto the head on Ironside to make it five. There was still time for an outrageous back heel attempt on goal from El Mizouni before the referee called time on Scunthorpe’s misery.
So, another five-nil on the road, and an absolutely devastating performance from the U’s. Scunthorpe were poor, granted, but to beat them in the manner we did showed United are going to be a difficult team to play this year. All credit to Bonner for switching up the formation when needed and for getting these lads playing with style and swagger. And all this without Wes Hoolahan!
UTAS Man of the Match: It can only be one man really, Harrison Dunk. Arguably our best signing of the past ten years, Dunk spent his 300th appearance for the club being involved in pretty much everything down the left side. A true United legend, and one playing some of the best football of his career.
Match Soundtrack: The Ventures – Hawaii Five-O Theme
United: Mitov, Knoyle, Taylor, Darling, Iredale, Hannant (El Mizouni), Digby (Boateng), May, Dunk, Ironside, Mullin (Knibbs)